When you are new to Weight Lifting and the concept of Bodybuilding, it is vital you understand that Rest and Recovery is just as important as Training. Becoming familiar with Optimal Rest can be your biggest tool on your path to your physique goals, while at the same time abusing your Rest can be a fast path to failure. When Training optimally most people can withstand 4 1hr training sessions per week for a maximum of 4hrs of weight training total. In reality you may only need 40mins per workout too, when you get more advanced. This might not seem like a lot, and the great thing is that it's not, but when Training properly it is all you need to build the dream physique as quickly as possible. Below are the things your body is doing during Rest and Recovery, and the full recovery of every one of them is vitally important for success.
1. Muscle Tissue Repair
This comes with the pre-requisite that you are actually training hard and well enough to create micro tears in the target muscle. If this is being done then after your workout your body immediately starts the process of muscle repair. But this process does not take 30mins, 1 hr or even 1 Day - it can take up to a week. During this time you have to be very vigilant with how you Rest in order to gain the most from your workouts. This is where nutrition, sleep quality and Rest play a vital role. You should not over train a sore muscle group, that is why you should only train body parts once per week - split over 3 or 4 sessions. If you constantly train a muscle that cannot recover in time you risk the release of stress hormones and lack of muscle recovery, e.g. growth.
2. Nervous System Adaptation
When we train hard and Intensely with weights, our nervous systems are being stimulated. Nerves are firing off muscle fibres non-stop with increasing amounts of Intensity for increasing amounts of time. Our central nervous systems are sending signals constantly, running at high capacity to the point of exhaustion. When we increase Intensity in the gym each week (top priority) and Resting well, our nervous systems adapt very well to the increase and allow us to train harder and harder, this is especially noticeable when training Legs with high Intensity. If we do not rest our bodies, our nervous systems will find it difficult to adapt, and Intensity might never increase - and without Intensity we cannot change our bodies long term.
3. Hormone Optimisation
Weight Training is fantastic for increasing good hormones in the body for both Men and Women. The stimulation of muscle fibres triggers hormone production that can benefit our quality of life. However, there are also stress hormones, and they are released when the body becomes stressed, beyond its capability. When we workout hard and well, good hormones peek - when we workout too long or too often then bad hormones peek and actively prevent progress. Bad hormones suppress good ones, and make it even harder for the body to recover normal levels. If we train optimally and Rest well we don't need to worry about this at all, as good hormones like Testosterone peek and inhibit production of bad hormones like Cortisol.
4. Effective Digestion
Rest is a great state of being for digestion to occur. If you are wanting to change your body, a lot of emphasis must be placed on your diet. You will be eating more fibrous and nutrient dense foods and it will place a certain strain on your digestive tract. Training too much can prevent proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients you need, and like all bodily processes even your digestive system must relax and rest to function optimally. The effectiveness of nutrient absorption is completely necessary for success. If our bodies cannot absorb the appropriate levels of nutrients it needs for muscle repair and maintenance then nutrients will be leeched from existing tissues, e.g. muscle tissue and organs. Learn more about proper Dieting here.
As your muscles grow and experience more and more stimulation, lactic acid build up and prolonged tension, your body will establish a denser capillary network of blood vessels. This happens as preparation for improved oxygen/nutrient delivery to muscle cells for optimal function and for lactic acid dissipation during activity/ training. Not Resting enough will not allow these important changes to occur and prevent advances in Intensity for further muscle stimulation. You must give your body the right amount of Rest in order to keep your body changing every week.
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